SAHEED OSUPA SPEAKS ON WAR IN THE HOUSE OF FUJI, PLUS HIS
RELATIONSHIP WITH BARRISTER KOLLINGTON, K1 AND PASUMA
The war in the music house of Fuji, if there is anything to go by in recent times, has
taken an interesting dimension.The principal actors, Saheed Osupa who was crowned King of Music by Alhaji Ayinde Barrister and Wasiu Alabi Pasuma who was crowned Otunba of Fuji music by K1, have been the focus of the feud. In this exclusive interview with www.nigeriafilms.com, he speaks about his background, the feud, his controversial nature, his relationship with K1, Pasuma, Kollington and Ayinde Barrister. Enjoy it.
Tell us about yourself?
I am Saheed Okunola. I was born 37 years ago in Laniba Compound Ayeye, Ibadan, Oyo State. I attended Saint Mary’s Primary School, Ajegunle, Apapa, Lagos. I had my Secondary education at Amuwo Odofin High School, Mile 2,Lagos that I completed in 1987. I later proceeded to the Polytechnic Ibadan where I studied Business Administration for three years. When I travelled to the United States of America, I studied Networking Operations and a bit of programming. I also got some knowledge on Computer Repairs at Manhattan, New York Centre of American International College.
How did you get to the United States of America?
I was dating a babe who won the Immigration Visa Lottery to the United States. So I accompanied her as her husband.
How did you get into music?
Music runs in the family. My father was a Were music artiste. He was known as Moshood Ajiwere Layeye. He and two others known as Wasiu Anifowoshe Adakeja and Dauda Epo Akara were prominent Were music artistes. My father was an elder cousin to Alhaji Ayinde Barrister. When I wanted to start my father discouraged me but I took advantage of the fact that I didn’t live with him and I started singing. I also have an elder brother called Negro who used to sing like K1. He was not creative but he was talented. All these got me interested in music. I eventually started my professional career in 1983.
How old are you now?
I am 37 years old.
What is responsible for your controversial nature?
A lot of people are of the opinion that I am controversial. Had I had not gone into music, I would have become a Human Rights Activist. I don’t like it when people are cheated upon and I will never cheat upon anyone. I can overlook some attitude but once I discover the person wants to make it a routine then I will rebuff and I will not accept such things. This is my idiosyncratic attitude and the negative side of me.
Based on this a lot of people are of the opinion that I am stubborn. It is my nature not that I believe in controversy or that I am controversial. If I keep expressing it and the person involved would not change then I would let the world know what the person is doing.
How many albums have you released since 1983?
I have released over 20 albums. I have “Fuji Fadisco” as my debut album, others include “Fuji Blues”, “Fuji Demonstration”, “Stainless”, “Master Blaster”, “Shovel Solo”, “Shovel Solo II”, “Unbeatable”, “Advice”, “Reliable”, “Respect”, “London Delight”, “Champion”, “African Delight” amongst others.
Why is it that controversial issues and stories always surround you?
This can simply be attributed to the fact that once upon a time I was not known to have issues with anyone. But since I came to limelight there has been nothing else but that. I have a forbearing spirit but once I discover that it is getting out of hands I will definitely talk. I give to everyone what is due to them.
What is the cause of the war in the house of Fuji?
The cause of the war in the house of Fuji is that honour is not given to whom it is due. The fight for supremacy has been the major cause of the war. If I am superior
to any Fuji artiste and it is general knowledge than it should be accepted by everyone in good faith.
Initially myself and Wasiu Alabi Pasuma and a few others were regarded as artistes in the same category. But because of good promoters a sort of contest set in. Sequel to this individual abilities would be used as yardstick to judge the abilities of the artistes. Maybe Pasuma felt that judging by ability would not favour him, he then created a means to upgrade his status as a superiorartiste. When I travelled to the United States and while I was there I heard Alabi Pasuma had been
made the Otunba of Fuji Music artistes.
It followed that he was next to K1. But speaking on musical abilities he is not next to K1. Automatically he would proclaim himself King after K1. Based on this, I resolved not to be controversial and use my senses. About that time I started receiving calls from my fans saying that I should realise my position among Fuji
artistes. I remember asking them if Wasiu Pasuma was Otunba of Fuji Music artistes and if K1 was the King? Was there any vacant position between the King and Otunba? I was calm but I believed if my ability was worth being made King, I
would be crowned. At that time, it was believed I would never become King.
Eventually, a show was organised where Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde, Muri Alabi Thunder and I performed. Then Alhaji Barrister told me that he appreciated my music and he had copies of all my albums. He informed me that I performed like him and he foresaw a situation whereby I would be the one to keep the Flag of Fuji Music flying and that God had blessed me with lots of talent.
He said that when I took over from him I would surpass him. He told me that with the way I sing I can sustain the Fuji music, so that other genre of music will not overshadow Fuji music. He then asked me what he could do to let me be appreciated by all. My reply that day was that whatever he wished to do. He then said, “What if I honour you as the King of Music. Wasiu Ayinde K1 is the King of Fuji while you are the King of Music”. I felt happy that it was a good development for the music industry in Nigeria. I believe being the King of Music does not contend
with K1 as the King of Fuji music.
Since then I discovered Pasuma was not happy but I did not expect that because I
thought my being King of Music should not cause trouble or bitter feelings from any
quarters. It should not cause any feud but they deliberately turned it to war because they know everybody is aware that Saheed Osupa is a trouble maker.
How the whole issue affected K1 is that there was a show at Ibadan which I was
invited to. K1 also performed. I knew K1 was displeased but I did not allow that to affect me and I had no grudge against him. Though I was billed to perform the celebrant called me to tell me I would not perform at the party. While K1 was performing I went on stage to pay homage to him by prostrating and spray some money. He started singing that no one can remove his crown. Immediately I thought
in my mind that I never contended as the King of Fuji but I am the King of Music.
It was quite mind-boggling because I never elevated myself to his level but if K1 thought it was a contest then it is quite unfortunate he took it that way.
Based on the war going on in the Fuji house of music, what is your relationship with Pasuma?
I can say I don’t have any grudge against Wasiu Alabi Pasuma, but now I have seen his true colours. To me he is greedy. Though I don’t intend to insult him but in my opinion he is someone who believes every thing in the world should belong to him. He was crowned Otunba of Fuji, I did not contest that with him. Why is he unhappy that I was crowned the King of Music? Does he want to be Otunba of Fuji
and King of Music at the same time?
What do you say about your relationship with K1?
I think K1 is yet to understand what is happening. I don’t hold any grudge against K1. I think he misunderstood what is happening, otherwise he would not have such an attitude towards me.
What about your relationship with Alhaji Kollington Ayinla?
As it applies to K1 it applies to Alhaji Kollington Ayinla. Someone must have gone to Alhaji Kollington to mislead him. King of Music is different from King of Fuji Music.
Kollington Ayinla is my father and I intend to go to him after the tension is gone to explain things to him properly. If he (Kollington) listened to my music he would have
known I have nothing against K1. I only replied him when he said his crown as King of Fuji can't be taken away from him.
How do you describe your relationship with Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister?
Alhaji Barrister is my father and it is his efforts with other Fuji artistes like Kollington Ayinla and K1 that has made Fuji music prominent today. Our relationshi is that of father and son or as you may put it Legend and Son.
What is the source of philosophical statements in your music?
I would say 70% of those proverbs and lyrics are divine inspiration. Another source of these lyrics is that I move with elders from whom I learn a lot of words of wisdom and I make use of them in my songs.
Do you write your lyrics or you sing and flow with the lyrics?
Most of my lyrics come to my senses while I perform. I can write songs when I want to perform but while I am performing live shows all I need is to start.
Lots of people raise questions based on your riches which does not reflect on your personality. For instance not many people believe you have an American Green Card, or own a Hummer Jeep or have built a mansion anywhere. What is
responsible for this?
Basically God has been responsible for this. I mean He (God) has always helped me with my finances. Whatever I desire I get it done. I will let out some things to you because of issues like this. Recently I have packed into my house at Sango Otta. I recently bought another house worth 12 million naira at Felele in Ibadan.
Why were you recently arrested by EFCC officials?
I don’t want to comment on the EFCC issue. I think the issue has been resolved and
so I don’t want to dwell on that.
Before they hit your head with the butt of the gun did you fight with EFCC officials?
I don’t want to talk about the issue.
What is your philosophy about life?
Life to me is like a stage where we are expected to act as artistes. But some people overreact, I mean they do things which are not in the script and some even add to the dialogue in the script. If a lot of people were contented with what God has directed us to do, then the world would have been a better place to live.
How do you relax despite your music and movie production engagements?
I must confess that I hardly rest especially now that the issue of controversy over kingship in the house of Fuji has started. I perform seven days a week.
Can we say the controversy has brought you good fortunes?
I must confess to you that the controversy has triggered my elevation. I have done lots of things from what I earned through the controversy. I was able to raise money to put finishing touches on my Sango Otta house and what I earned from the controversy helped me to acquire my new property at Ibadan. If I ask any promoter for 30 million naira, I will get it. I am such a person that God blessed me through misunderstanding or controversial issues. But I don’t foment trouble because of this. The more people antagonise me, the more the blessings I receive. I can say the more people curse me unjustly, the more blessings I receive from God.
What is responsible for this?
That is the way God created me.
In the course of the present controversy how many live recorded albums have
I have done over hundreds of recorded live shows. Sometimes I perform in the afternoon and at night. Sometimes I perform for three or four hours. The least sale I have recorded is 100,000 copies.
Do you wish there should be a round table whereby all aggrieved parties will be called together and the issue will be amicably resolved?
I cannot say because I make money from the controversy, so the feud should continue. I wouldn't mind if the issue is to be resolved amicably. It should be based on the fact that K1 is the King of Fuji Music, Saheed Osupa is the King of Music, while Wasiu Alabi Pasuma is the Otunba of all Fuji artistes.
But I don’t want any trouble. I don't want that my right be given to someone else. I will not take that. I am only after my rightful place and title in the Fuji Music Industry,
not the money. If I don’t do this, posterity will not forgive me. Fela is celebrated by the world today because he did all he did while alive.
What makes you happy?
I am happy because I am earning the fruit of my labour.
How do you want to pay back to the society?
I am planning towards that. I am presently putting up a structure that will be for charity purpose. I will source for donations but my input will be more. Its head office will be in Lagos with branches all over the world. It will be known as King Saheed Osupa Foundation.
Advice for up-coming Fuji artistes?
They must be hard working.
How many awards do you have to your credit?
I am not an award freak though I have some. But the way awards are handled abroad is not the way we go about giving awards in Nigeria. Most awards in Nigeria obviously lack good reasoning and public opinion.
What would you love to be remembered for?
I would love to be remembered as the artiste with the most philosophical lyrics in his music. I want my music to be a reference point and solution to every problem.
What do you say about allegations of insulting Pasuma’s mother in your music?
People are just misquoting me. It is like someone calling me a pick pocket whereas the person is an armed robber. In that case when I reply that the person is an armed robber the issue gets messy. He claimed that I possess charms and answered that his mother got him the charms he uses. I did not insult his mother.
His action brought about my reaction.
Message for your fans?
I thank them for their support and good advice. They tell me the truth.
By TAIWO OBATUSIN for WWW.NIGERIAFILMS.COM